Monday, December 31, 2001

Season's Greetings from Joanna (2001)

Hello – it’s time again for the annual chronicles of your favourite nomad!

Surprise..surprise…I’m still in Sydney and it’s been a relatively quiet year after the frenzied round-the-world trip in 2000. Apart from a visit home to Malaysia in April, my passport has remained under lock and key for most of 2001.

Instead, I’ve spent many hours exploring the beautiful areas surrounding Sydney with Russell. He’s the love of my life – so quiet, confident, strong and best of all – he does exactly as he’s told. In case you’re wondering, “Russell the Muscle” is more than a man – he’s a brand new Nissan Pulsar Auto 1.8 ST. Russ eagerly awaits the arrival of more of my family and friends in Sydney – as do I. We both promise to take good care of you.

Highlights of the year for me included:-
  • Spending Australia Day weekend on a Sunshine Coast beach that was being used to train new lifeguards. Grin…
  • Catching up with family and friends in KL during the Easter break. It was a powerful and gratifying reminder of all the precious people who’ve enriched my life in Malaysia. God bless you all!
  • The Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Hunter Valley and Canberra are some of the lovely spots I visited this year. The Floriade festival in Canberra featured a breathtaking display of spring flowers including tulips, irises, crocuses and daffodils.
  • Visits from my parents, sister and aunt who enjoyed their stints in Sydney very much. I spent ten fantastic days with my sister Julie, who is now dead keen on moving here too!
  • Spraining my ankle while leading a disco dance revolution during a performance of “Mamma Mia - the ABBA Musical” atthe Princess Theatre in Melbourne.
  • Immersing myself in Sydney’s eclectic music scene ranging from classical to Kylie Minogue; Hillsong Music to “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Go figure.
  • My first ever skiing trip to Falls Creek in Victoria was wonderfully wet and cold. I am proud to announce that I can now ski, stop and turn - on the kiddie slopes.
  • Learning to sing the Australian national anthem to the tune of “Gilligan’s Island” after several rounds of peach schnapps.
  • My 31st birthday party was celebrated in the company of my sister and some of my closest mates. It was a boisterous evening filled with animated conversation, laughter, fine food, wine, champagne and a broken window – enough said.
  • Deciding to move from the heart of the city to a picturesque suburb in north Sydney. In my new home, I wake up to the sound of bird calls instead of police sirens. Such bliss is mine…
  • Choosing to specialise in HR Strategy & Change Management in my consulting career. This springs from my belief that companies must focus on their most valuable asset – people.

Yet the events that have left the most profound impact on me this year were the shocking attacks in America and the ensuing war on terror. On my visit to the Big Apple last year, I remember looking up at the World Trade Towers thinking “I’d give my right arm to work here in New York City!” Sigh… words seem so futile and inadequate in the face of such unspeakable horror.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt through all this – it’s that life is for living. I must not waver in my zest for life, my love for family & friends and most importantly, my trust in God. Friends, I urge you to be brave and keep walking onwards and upwards. In the words of Robert Frost,

“Two paths diverged in the woods; and I
I took the road less travelled,
And that has made all the difference.”

Have a very blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

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